Saturday, February 28, 2009

Please Excuse Impertenery Questions

The first week of February 1901 found American Fork, Utah with its first case of smallpox. The disease had inflicted the Adamson family. Charles Logie wrote to his daughter, Beatrice, that the students who had not received vaccinations for the disease weren’t being ‘turned out’ of school. Feelings against the enforced vaccinations were still running high throughout the community.

Utah American Fork Robinson Flour Mill Beatrice’s older sister, Elenor and her husband Lorenzo Gaisford were talking about moving to a farm. Census records confirm that they did move to a farming life for a while but eventually relocated to California. Education was always a high priority in the Logie family and Elenor was worried about her children living so far from town that they couldn’t get to school like they did in a town or city. Her parents worried that she would suffer from loneliness and the farming life in a remote setting given her personality.

Beatrice had left her copy of the Articles of Faith home when she moved away and wanted her parents to send it to her. Charles sent her a short note on 9 Feb 1901 saying that they couldn’t find the document in her things that were still at home. The search continued for several days without success but the day was saved when Mrs. Evans visited and brought a copy of the document to send to Beatrice.

Charles mentioned that he and his wife Rosa had enjoyed a church meeting the day before that featured B.H. (Brigham Henry) Roberts and Seymour B. Young, both General Authorities of the LDS Church, as the speakers.

For the past year, Beatrice lived in Bingham Canyon, Utah where she was a school teacher. She moved to Salt Lake City a week earlier to attend additional college courses. Apparently, teachers at the time did not have to sign a contract for a full school year given that she left her teaching position in late January.

This note and letter contain misspellings of certain words that continue through the end of the series of letters. Charles’ health had become a problem by this point in time and perhaps his previously excellent memory was being affected by that issue. His sense of humor was constrained but not lost as will be evidenced in his subsequent letters.

9 Feby 01 (1901)

We Send you every thing that you Sent for with the exception of Articles of Faith I asked Bro Grant if he had such a thing & he said no. He Articles of Faithdid not Know where I could get one only perhaps the Sunday School might have a spare coppy. Mother says she will see if Mrs. Evans cant get a copy for you & that is all at this time to be continued in the next..

don't yer Know…

American Fork Feby 11/01 (1901)

Dear Beatrice,

Your letter received we are allways Glad to hear that you are doing well & haveing a good time as you call it. I have not anything Special just now but thought I would write a short note to let you know that we are well & no particular complaints to make. The weather has cleared up - Sun Shining today, but it is pretty cold outside it is kind of comfortable to keep the stove in sight.

Mrs Evans dined with us yesterday & she brought that card with the articles of faith for you which I enclose. We could not find yours. Mother searched every place that she could think of but there was no card to be found & of course she did not look in the right place.

Well we are sailing along pretty smoothly at present as far as the schools are concerned & the health board daresent turn em out but we don't know how long this state of affairs will last.

We have two families got Small Pox - Harry Adamson’s Wife & Son Conder. The report is that poor Jim is the worst looking case in the State but I suppose that yarn is for the benefit of the doc, Battey & Co.

We got a letter from Nellie yesterday & she seems to have the blues. Says that Ren is going to sell out his printing business & going to farming. Nellie says she was out to see that farm one day & that she was glad to get back. Says She won't be able to visit us if they sell Brigham Henry RobertsSeymour Bicknell Youngthe paper because they will have no pass.

Poor Nellie don't want to be put on a farm away from everybody. She is not adapted to feeding pigs & chickens & milk kicking cows. You might write to her & give her some good advice. Mother says if she moves out on that farm which is some ten miles out of town it is goodbye to the children going to school.

We had a grand day yesterday Bro. Roberts & Seymore B. Young gave us some splendid talk. The house was cramed full & running over. We wish you could have been there. You did not tell us how far you live from your coledge & what amount of lucre you have pay for your board.

You will please excuse impertenery questions.

Well it is dinner time & the fried onions & gravey smell good. Be good to your self.

We send kind Love & Remain … you find no change in me,

Chas Logie

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Slow Death of Handwriting

After spending several nights trying to interpret the handwriting on old census records, I realized that I haven’t written anything extensive on paper for a long time.

How does my handwriting now compare to what it did when I was young? Well, it depends on the day. Some days, my current hand strokes produce very legible well-formed text. On other days, the message still leaves my brain but seems to degrade by the time it reaches my hand and my writing suffers as a result.

Of course, some days I’m apparently dyslexic when using a keyboard and some days it isn’t a problem. One thing is for sure though, the less I write by hand, the more the quality of my handwriting suffers.

I took a calligraphy class years ago and enjoyed learning how to apply artful strokes to build alphabetic characters. Unfortunately, that skill set has settled back into the primordial goo from lack of use.

Chandler Abiel signature The handwriting of my ancestors has always fascinated me. I constantly look for any examples of it on old documents and am happy when I find their signature and ecstatic when I find a letter or more lengthy document that came from their hand.

I’m using my great grandfathers letters as a base for the current series of postings on my lineagekeeper blog. The letters are treasure in my estimation. Not only do they convey his sometimes irascible humor, but they are windows into his personality, life, loves and concerns. His character, mannerisms and view of his fellow man would be lost without them. Grandpa and his family would be reduced to the basic statistics that are so common to family history researchers: Name, Dates, Places .. end of story.

If you’ve read my earlier notes, you know how much I love the old account books, family records on bible and remembrance pages and legal documents that were created by my ancestors. They are Treasure. Pure treasure.

The topic of handwrDavid L Drew signatureiting was on my mind when I found story on the BBC Magazine website titled “The Slow Death of Handwriting”. I couldn’t resist parroting its title for this note. The article posits that handwriting will soon be a thing of the past because we are all moving to computers to communicate, send cards, keep our financial records and historical documents.

Shaking my head in dismay, I realized that the article describes me and probably you too. Unless we make a conscious effort to convey our handwritten words to paper, any extensive writing we do today is via our keyboard. That’s not to say that I still don’t burn through pens and stacks of note paper, but the ink I usually spread today is limited to brief notes, rows of record numbers from my genealogical database or telephone numbers. None of my longer notes are handwritten now.

I mourn its loss but truth is, other than my journal which I purposely record by hand, I probably won’t go back to doing much extensive handwriting. It is just too slow and my spelling errors don’t automatically correct themselves or at least tell me that I’m probably wrong.

How about you? Are you contributing to the mass extinction of the art? If not, how are you feeding its continued existence? Personally, I have written letters to my children that they will receive after I die. Hopefully the words and the letters themselves with be esteemed as treasure to them too.

If you have interest in learning more about handwriting and the personalities behind it, watch the video below and the associated videos on the same page. If you are a genealogist, the series of videos will serve you well in your ancestral quest.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Visit Us on Birthington’s Wash Day – 4 Feb 1901

Life in American Fork, Utah had calmed down a bit by the 4th of February 1901.  The vaccination war was nearing a conclusion in fact if not in opinion. 

Students and teachers were forced to get the vaccinations and although the populace in general strongly disagreed, the deed was done.  Rumblings would continue for many months, but street corner meetings and other community meetings on the subject were over.

Utah Alpine Stake Tabernacle Charles Logie wrote to his daughter Beatrice that he and his wife, Rosa, didn’t worry about the fashions of the day in reference to the social clubs that were popular at the time.  He had no use for them wasting people’s time and requiring club dues to be a member.

As always, the Logie’s worried about Beatrice having to tramp through snow back and forth to her classroom and in her other activities in life.  We have to remember that in that day, the roads in Bingham Canyon as well as most small towns in the west did not have paved roads or sidewalks. 

Due to the growth in populations, the LDS Church divided the Utah Stake in Utah Valley on Sunday, the 13th of January 1901.  Three stakes were created from the original stake that was headquartered in Provo, Utah.   The new Alpine Stake consisted of the LDS wards in the northern end of the valley and would be headquartered in American Fork.  Stephen L. Chipman was called as the stake president.  He would continue in that church calling for more than two decades.  

Charles humor was back in force when he referred to Washington’s Birthday as ‘burtington wash day’.  He and Rosa had hoped that Beatrice would be able to visit them for the holiday.  The family resources were meager but they had sent her a small birthday gift hoping she would “take the will for the deed”.

His handwriting was starting to deteriorate now.  He was seventy-one and health issues were beginning to take a great toll on his physical body, but his sense of humor hadn’t dimmed nor had his love for his family.

We enter this letter with Beatrice’s birthday the next day as the center of his attention.


American Fork Feb 4/01 (1901)

Dear Beatrice,

I take pleasure in answering your letter which came safe to hand yesterday.  You seem to be getting along very nicely in your school we are glad to hear that you are doing so well with the Parents of your pupils.  It is allways encouraging to know that your labors are appreciated. 

Now don't you think that we are getting to be a couple of craby ol folks because we don't allways coinside with all the fashions of the day. All these clubs and secret order are verry well for some people but in the first place there is quiet an expence by way of dues and other things to be attended to that would ocupy your time which would not be of any benefit to you & Mother Utah American Fork 1907 First Cement Sidewalks thinks you had better wait a little longer for the good time coming don't you know.

Mother wants to know how far you have to travel to get to school.  You did not say in your communication verry much about your new quarters only that it was a nice place & that you had lots of good things to eat.  So we are wondering how far you have to tramp in the Snow every morning. 

Well Miss Galbraith is verry pleased about the way you managed about that vaccination buisness.  She says that you acted the perfect Lady.  She is quite disgusted with Corey Bromley because she would not be vaccinated & when the trustees refered to let her teach, she demanded her pay just the same while poor Miss Galbraith was teaching her school.  Cora went back when the school was opened to all healthy persons.  They had a pay day last Friday & the trustees stopped 10 dollars off Cora & gave it to our Galbraith.

There is a number of changes being made here since the stake has been devided.  (There’s) been quite a number of new officers made & things turned round generaly.  We are sorry that you cannot pay us that visit on burthington wash day but of cause you have to attend to your school affairs.  Mother says how is Mr Joke Hopkins?  You did not say weather you went to that big dance last Friday. 

Now when next you write be sure to answer all these questions & any thiing else that she may of forgoten We have not forgot that tomorrow will be your birthday & we wish you many returnes of the day and pray that the good Lord will continue to bless you with every blessing & that you may live to a good old age is the wish of the Old folks at Home.  Mother sends you a small present & would have liked to send a more valueble one but we know that you will take the will for the deed.

Walter sends his love to you.  He is still staying with us the poor fellow, injoys his Mothers cooking, says he can't get any thing fit to eat out to Mercur & we are glad to have him stay with us while it is such cold weather.  We have had quite a Snow storm yesterday & today.  I expect I have said about enough for this time.  Charlie has just called in he says to tell you that none of his folks have been vaccinated yet.

Now I realy will quit for this time.  It is nearly dinner time & there is a meeting for the high Priests at 2 O’Clock.

I am happy to say that we are all well at home & trust that this will find you the same. 

We send our kind love to you & remain your Affect Father

Chas Logie